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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Compare and contrast the two types of amnesia
  • Discuss the unreliability of eyewitness testimony
  • Discuss encoding failure
  • Discuss the various memory errors
  • Compare and contrast the two types of interference

You may pride yourself on your amazing ability to remember the birthdates and ages of all of your friends and family members, or you may be able recall vivid details of your 5th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese’s. However, all of us have at times felt frustrated, and even embarrassed, when our memories have failed us. There are several reasons why this happens.


Amnesia is the loss of long-term memory that occurs as the result of disease, physical trauma, or psychological trauma. Psychologist Tulving (2002) and his colleagues at the University of Toronto studied K. C. for years. K. C. suffered a traumatic head injury in a motorcycle accident and then had severe amnesia. Tulving writes,

the outstanding fact about K.C.'s mental make-up is his utter inability to remember any events, circumstances, or situations from his own life. His episodic amnesia covers his whole life, from birth to the present. The only exception is the experiences that, at any time, he has had in the last minute or two. (Tulving, 2002, p. 14)

Anterograde amnesia

There are two common types of amnesia: anterograde amnesia and retrograde amnesia ( [link] ). Anterograde amnesia is commonly caused by brain trauma, such as a blow to the head. With anterograde amnesia    , you cannot remember new information, although you can remember information and events that happened prior to your injury. The hippocampus is usually affected (McLeod, 2011). This suggests that damage to the brain has resulted in the inability to transfer information from short-term to long-term memory; that is, the inability to consolidate memories.

Many people with this form of amnesia are unable to form new episodic or semantic memories, but are still able to form new procedural memories (Bayley&Squire, 2002). This was true of H. M., which was discussed earlier. The brain damage caused by his surgery resulted in anterograde amnesia. H. M. would read the same magazine over and over, having no memory of ever reading it—it was always new to him. He also could not remember people he had met after his surgery. If you were introduced to H. M. and then you left the room for a few minutes, he would not know you upon your return and would introduce himself to you again. However, when presented the same puzzle several days in a row, although he did not remember having seen the puzzle before, his speed at solving it became faster each day (because of relearning) (Corkin, 1965, 1968).

A single-line flow diagram compares two types of amnesia. In the center is a box labeled “event” with arrows extending from both sides. Extending to the left is an arrow pointing left to the word “past”; the arrow is labeled “retrograde amnesia.” Extending to the right is an arrow pointing right to the word “present”; the arrow is labeled “anterograde amnesia.”
This diagram illustrates the timeline of retrograde and anterograde amnesia. Memory problems that extend back in time before the injury and prevent retrieval of information previously stored in long-term memory are known as retrograde amnesia. Conversely, memory problems that extend forward in time from the point of injury and prevent the formation of new memories are called anterograde amnesia.

Questions & Answers

Define Intelligence.
Emma Reply
The ability to acquire and apply knowledge and skills.
the ability to think rationally,and adapt to the situation
there is no such thing like intelligence ...its a tool of division a comparison for humans to idealise do nothing meaningful
daym @ecstasy the. I don't know how anyone can follow up on that
@ anonymous ....dont get it
Intelligence is level of brain power with the ability to use facts to determine how to deal with a set of situations.
Intelligence can be defined as food for the brain. It gives the brain a great stimuli of energy to function at it's best . The greatest benefit to this resource, it allows you to define every avenue of your life. Example- It can be a defense mechanism from knowledge that hasn't been proven.
what does BS Psychology do? or what jobs are available?
Samwan Reply
Hello guys good morning
Tanam Reply
gud mornin
Good evening, I hope everyone is having a great day! :)
Fine namira
What makes people with sickle cell not fat does the illness damage their body?
Normally, RBCs are shaped like discs, which gives them the flexibility to travel through even the smallest blood vessels. However, with this disease, the RBCs have an abnormal crescent shape resembling a sickle. This makes them sticky and rigid and prone to getting trapped in small vessels
this leads to blood not reaching much to parts, leading to anaemia. and hence them not being able to gain any weight
nice I see
I have a question regarding counselling.
A teenaged girl comes up to a therapist and speaks about her issues that she is having with her mother, for instance, she wants something from her mother ( attention, care and love) that is she is deprived of. How do we counsel her? what do we tell her in such a situation where she cannot directly
convey her needs to her mother.
natural law therapy
first, like, try to get to know how is her conversational relationship with her mother. that if her mother blatantly ignores her, or doesn't pay much attention or what. also try to pry if their relationship is strained or okay okay or good.
your next course of action can only be decided by the answer to this
if her mother is like, not that good a parent, try to bring her in in therapy as well, if she's an okay okay one, have her and the girl sit down and talk in front of you. and if she's a good parent, all you have to do is encourage the girl to talk.
and also talk to the mother explaining​ that a healthy discussion or even a simple heart to heart with children is a must
Alright, thankyou so much. :)
What made psychology be studied under philosophy
fatima Reply
..Cos everything begins with the love of Wisdom
first ,explain what is psychology and philosophy .Then you state and explain the various reasons for which psychology was studied under philosophy.
Then you give a suitable conclusion.
please can anyone help me with different between Cognitive and Personality structure
cognitive deals with mind and metal while personality deals with physical actions
cognitive is nothing but our way of processing the information....were as personality is totally different ....that it relates to our environment....that means how we behave according to our circumstances...
now are u clear
what is psychology
Beatriz Reply
Psychology is the study of soul
scientific study of mind and behavior
a real life example of humanistic model
Alexsus Reply
what is a linear relationship
Happy Reply
directly related. like if one factor changes, so will the other
explain the process of visua sensation
David Reply
Sensation is defined as the stimulation of sense organs Visual sensation is a physiological process which means that it is the same for everyone. We absorb energy such as electro magnetic energy (light) or sound waves by sensory organs such as eyes.
what is selective attention?
Happy what did you say visual sensation is ?
please make your explanation clear for us
you mean you experience sensation by what you see..
I thought it was by what your five senses interpreted
visual has to do with the eyes alone
sensory has to do with all the sense organs ranging from the eyes,nose, skin,tongue and ear
selective attention is focusing on a particular stimulus out of myriads of stimuli
visual sensation in simple terms is standing from far it seems to assume that the trees are emerged but when you get they totally separated
seeing the trees been emerged is the visual sensation.That is my understanding, you can also find out
a woman watch me all time why
Janak Reply
because it is hard to test alot of things in it empiricaly
Ahmed Reply
good Morning, I want someone to give me a lecture on levels of conscious
Tebukoza Reply
why is psyche represented as a butterfly?
Gabriella Reply
Psyche's mythological imagery in ancient art is represented with butterfly wings, amply depicted in pottery as well. ... The metamorphosis of the butterfly inspired many to use butterflies as a symbol of the soul's exit from the body. Thus, the myth of Psyche concomitantly signifies soul and butterf
ok thanks
On what basis do people argue that genes do not set limits on a person's potential?
Shruti Reply
The Nature-Nature Thingy
Nature vs nurture
well, going by Polygenic Hypothesis formulated in a genome-wide association study (GWAS), each (even all) gene(s) affects every complex trait. from physical to even one's mental growth (though it's still debatable).
Like you know, the selfish gene, like genes passed on to generation after generation​; and if a person with a certain gene arrangement pattern meets someone remotely resembling even a part of it, he/she'll automatically behave selflessly towards the other person.
somewhat linking to the idea of soulmates, and Plato's idea of conjoint men and women who were split by God and hence strive to become one yet again. (I know I'm wandering away from psychology here)
But IQ is affected by both genes and environment.
"Other studies at the world-leading Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research suggest that many of our traits are more than 50% inherited, including obedience to authority, vulnerability to stress, and risk-seeking. "
as for effect of the environment, study of epigenetics shows that how many inherited traits only get “switched on” in certain environments.
BUT, "Various options are pencilled in by our genes, and our life experiences determine which get inked." That is, what gets 'unlocked' depends on our experience and environment factor.
like determining if a person will be introvert or extrovert, by just observing his parents is not enough. though it does contribute a major part.
so, I'd like to go against your question (somewhat) and say, genes do set limitations, but what some genes only 'unlock' under certain circumstances and environment, so they don't limit it totally
hope it helped. @ me (CK) if any doubts or queries remain
Hi, I have completed my Engineering with MBA in HR, and I want to pursue my career in field related to psychology. Is it possible to study psychology and pursue my dream.
Aparnaa Reply
You can but you'll have to start from FYBA again
Oh! hmm thank you.
Look into getting a doctorate in industrial/organizational psychology. There are myriad fields within psychology; which one are you pursuing?
something like counselling!
if you want to be a licensed professional counselor, you need to get a master of arts degree in counseling. It takes about two years to complete. you will have a practicum/internship as well within your coursework. Before you apply for a degree, find out your states requirements about licensure.
Hmm i will check the details and thank you so much!
am a a student clinical officer
David Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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